Kitchens for Good: Re-imagining Food Waste

November 2, 2016

Food Waste as a Powerful Tool to Empower

We believe that food is simply too good to waste. However, in the United States, we waste over 40% of all food produced.

​There’s an excitement growing about the topic of food waste, and how to reclaim and use the staggering amount of food that is wasted due to cosmetic imperfections. Each day a new story or Internet meme comes out about these adorable ugly fruit and their alternative uses.  But, it’s critical that we don’t see food waste just as fuel for the body or a resource to consume.  Here at Kitchens for Good, we use food waste as a tool to empower, uplift, educate and employ.  We do this through culinary job training, engaging hard to employ populations like formerly incarcerated individuals, youth aging out of foster care and individuals leaving rehab, to prepare surplus food that might otherwise go to waste into healthy meals for the hungry.We believe that food is simply too good to waste. However, in the United States, 40% of all food produced goes unused. Half of that consists of fresh produce that has cosmetic imperfections or lacks commercial demand. We work directly with farmers and wholesale companies to purchase and rescue fruits and vegetables that are cosmetically imperfect or surplus.

By preparing squishy tomatoes or oversized zucchini into healthy meals, we are not only addressing issues of hunger and food waste in our community, but we are empowering students to launch their careers in the culinary industry.  This model gives both ugly produce and individuals a so-called ‘second chance’ at becoming productive and valuable to society. It is a model that embraces the idea that all food, and all people have value when you uncover it and look past the outer façade.

In our first year of operations, Kitchens for Good will rescue over 30,000 pounds of produce, prepare over 40,000 meals for food insecure in the community, and prepare 80 men and women for careers in the culinary industry.